Busting the Tube: A Brief History of Video Art

Kate Horsfield

In Busting the Tube, Kate Horsfield charts a history of the development of independent video practice, ranging from the video activism of the Raindance Corporation and People’s Video Theater to experimentation with the body  its operation in social space in the work of Bruce Nauman and Vito Acconci.  Seeing the rise in independent video as a response to the increasing cultural significance of television and its function as an instrument of socio-ideological homogenization and political disengagement, Horsfield considers video art as a new field of cultural production meant to give a vehicle for the communication of alternative subjectivities critical of the official cultural norm in all aspects of daily life, ranging from political oppression and its use of mystifying rhetoric to sexual politics and gender-based discrimination.  Alongside the formal and ideological development of video art, Horsfield also analyzes the parallel development of the infrastructure and cultural policy that would enable video art to be made and exhibited on an increasingly wider scale.  Through the delineation of the various agendas and modes of expression video art has lent itself to since the late 1960s, Horsfield sees ever more room for critical engagement with the video medium and offers encouragement for its continued utilization to critique dominant structures of power.